Eric Whitacre (born January 2, 1970 in Reno, Nevada) is an American composer, conductor and lecturer. He is one of the most popular and performed composers of his generation. In 2008, the all-Whitacre choral CD Cloudburst (released by the British ensemble Polyphony on Hyperion Records) became an international best-seller, topping the classical charts and earning a Grammy nomination. Robert Hollingworth commented: "what hits you straight between the eyes is the honesty, optimism and sheer belief that passes any pretension. This is music that can actually make you smile." Whitacre's Virtual Choir projects on YouTube exposed his music to a new audience. Whitacre signed a long-term recording deal with Decca in 2010 and continues to develop his award winning musical Paradise Lost. A condensed concert version was given at Carnegie Hall in 2010. Plans for the stage show and soundtrack extend into 2011.